The SeaWorld Rescue Team announced they’ve been busier than normal at the start of their rescue season.
SeaWorld said they’ve rescued up to 20 sea lions and seals since the beginning of December, which is a three-fold jump in the number of rescues. The team just rescued a sea lion on Jan. 14, SeaWorld said.
“With a higher than normal number of rescues so far, we’re closely watching the situation to see if a trend develops as we get closer to springtime,” said Jennifer Zarate, SeaWorld senior animal care specialist. “Regardless though, we are ready to give any animal that needs our help a second at life.”
The rescue team said they’ve also seen a change in the ages of the animals in need. Saying, they’ve mostly rescued pups and yearlings when they normally rescue adults and sub-adults.
The rescued pups and yearlings are often times malnourished and dehydrated, SeaWorld said. Once the animals are rescued they are rehabilitated for 6 to 8 weeks depending on their illness and injury.
SeaWorld said although they don’t know what may have caused the increase in strandings, they think the winter storms could be the cause as it may impact the ability of young, inexperienced sea lions from foraging food.